After 13 long years, my spicy beef kaldereta recipe gets an update and with new photos too! Chunks of beef short ribs are browned then sautéed in olive oil with plenty of garlic, onions, bell peppers and tomatoes, then slow cooked until fork tender. Potato and carrot wedges, peas and olives are added, and the sauce is thickened with mashed cooked liver.
That didn’t sound complicated, did it? Kaldereta is not a difficult dish to cook. There are a few pointers to remember though. First is never to scrimp on the amount of chopped garlic, onions and tomatoes. Second is to add water little by little during the cooking to avoid thinning the sauce too much. Third is to use stewing beef, never loins or rounds, because the flavor of the sauce develops during the slow cooking.
Kaldereta is a classic Filipino dish. It can be cooked with beef, pork or chicken. I’ve even used boneless bangus fillets, a real treat. But probably the most exotic kaldereta is the version using goat meat. I’ve tried it and didn’t particularly like it. Too little meat.
Traditionally, kaldereta sauce is thickened with mashed cooked liver. Modern cooks substitute canned liver spread or bottled liver pate (more expensive). My personal preference is mashed boiled chicken livers. If you’ve never used mashed liver before and find canned liver spread more convenient, well, I guess you won’t really perceive the difference. Your beef kaldereta will still taste good. But, if you’re in the mood for the extra effort, I really encourage using mashed boiled chicken livers. Once you’ve tried it, you would consider substituting liver spread only as a last and desperate resort.
Spicy Beef Kaldereta
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 kilogram beef short ribs
- 1/4 kilogram white onions chopped
- 3 tablespoons finely minced garlic
- 2 bell peppers chopped
- 1 400-gram can diced tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 to 3 bird's eye chilies finely sliced
- 200 grams potatoes
- 100 grams carrots
- 1/4 kilogram chicken livers
- 12 pitted olives
- 1/2 cup frozen sweet peas
- Cut the beef into two-inch chunks (or have the butcher do this for you).
- Heat the olive oil in a heavy sauce pot or casserole. Over high heat, brown the beef chunks with a little salt and pepper, in batches if necessary.
- Add the garlic, onions, tomatoes, bay leaf, chilies and chopped bell peppers. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are soft.
- Add the diced tomatoes. Fill the can with water and pour into the pot. Sprinkle in more salt and pepper.
- Lower the heat, cover and simmer for two to two-and-a-half hours or until the meat is fork tender. Stir occasionally during cooking. If the sauce becomes too dry before the meat is cooked, add more water, about half a cup at a time.
- While the beef simmers, prepare the potatoes and carrots. Peel and cut them into wedges.
- Boil the chicken livers with a little water. When cooked, mash with a fork or pass through the blender or food processor. Adding a little liquid will make the process easier.
- When the beef is tender, add the potatoes and carrot wedges. Continue simmering for another 20 minutes or until the vegetables are done. Taste the sauce and add more salt and pepper, if needed.
- Add the peas, olives and mashed liver. Simmer for 5 minutes. Adjust the seasonings on last time.
- Serve the spicy beef kaldereta hot with rice or crusty bread.